World Coins

Perth Mint gears for Evolution of Industry coin

An innovative two-coin set from the Perth Mint allows the pair of coins to act as a gearbox. The coins celebrate technical innovations of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions.

Images courtesy of the Perth Mint.

The contest to create a coin in a new design with new technology has undergone a revolution of sorts.

The Perth Mint’s August release of coins includes a clever and innovative pair of silver gear-shaped coins to illustrate historic inventions using steam and electricity. The Antiqued Proof 1-ounce .9999 fine silver dollars are issued for Tuvalu.

The set marks key developments in the two areas, which spurred industrial and technological advances resulting in what we know today as the First and Second Industrial Revolutions. 

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The pair of coins together can serve as a functional gearbox. Turning a dial on the side of the presentation case makes the gear-shaped coins rotate in the box. 

The Industrial Revolution, which began more than 200 years ago, presented enormous changes to human society. Handcraft workers from rural communities moved to densely packed urban environments where they were employed for long hours in grimy factories dominated by noisy machinery. Driven by the invention of new technology and adoption of new processes, the industrial revolution had dramatic effects on economics, politics and culture, shaping the world in which we now live.

Fundamental to mechanization was the development of Matthew Boulton and James Watt’s steam engine. One of its first applications was pumping water from mineshafts at the growing number of collieries required to satisfy another key facilitator of industrialization — coal.

Beginning around 1870, the Second Industrial Revolution, also known as the Technological Revolution, marked a new, even more rapid phase of industrialization. It was characterized by many important inventions, notably in electricity, which replaced steam as the main source of industrial power.

Designs of the times

Artist Tom Vaughan designed the reverse of the gear-shaped coins. 

The reverse of the Steam Power coin features a number of significant inventions that contributed to the First Industrial Revolution. 

Imagery represents an early steam locomotive and the railway; the chimneys of Britain’s mills and early factories that used steam power for driving machinery on a large scale; a flywheel and other components representing elements of Boulton and Watt’s steam engine; and an early steamboat similar to the type pioneered for use on the Forth and Clyde canal by William Symington.

The design of the coin representing electricity depicts Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb. 

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The inventor himself is shown at Pearl Street Station in front of its electrical generating equipment. The design also incorporates a representation of spectacular electrical discharges from a Tesla coil, a system invented in 1891 that produced extremely high voltages used by Nikolai Tesla in experiments aimed at achieving the wireless transmission of energy.

The obverse of each coin features Queen Elizabeth II, in crowned profile facing right. This portrait, featuring the queen wearing a tiara and pearl earrings, was executed by the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley. 

The legend QUEEN ELIZABETH II, the date and the denomination also appear.

The coins measure 38.5 millimeters in diameter and are 4.1 millimeters thick.

The two-coin set is presented in an acrylic case with a mechanism to rotate the coins. The case sits within a themed shipper and is accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity. 

The set has a mintage limit of 1,000 sets, and retails for $149.95 U.S. from the American distributor, Talisman Coins.

To order the coin, visit the distributor website.  

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